The Benin division of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld the judgment of the Edo State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which affirmed the victory of Godwin Obaseki in the September 19 poll in the state.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by a five-man panel through Zoom, the judges resolved in favour of the governor against the three applicants.
The three-man election petition tribunal led by Justice Yunusa Musa had earlier dismissed petitions filed by the aggrieved parties against Obaseki for failing to provide credible evidences to support their claims.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the applicants, which include Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM), filed their respective applications before the Court of Appeal.
Justice Mojeed Owoade, who read the judgment for the appeal filed by ADP, said that the tribunal did not err when it ruled that Obaseki was educated up to school certificate level.
The court also held that the original certificate presented by the governor nullifies the allegations of forged certificate.
Consequently, Justice Owoade said “the appeal is devoid of merits and is accordingly dismissed. Judgment by the tribunal is hereby affirmed.”
ADP had filed an appeal to nullify the declaration of Obaseki as winner of the election based on controversial degree result alongside nomination and express of interest forms submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the governor for the purpose of the election.
The court also dismissed petitions filed by the Action Peoples Party (APP) for lack of merits and awarded the sum of N600,000 against the appellants.
APP, in their petition, claimed they were unlawfully excluded by INEC from the election.
But the court stated that since there was no valid nomination of a candidate, then the party cannot complain of unlawful exclusion from the election.
Similarly, petitions filed by the Allied Peoples Movement were also struck out to the advantage of Obaseki and other respondents.
Recall that five political parties had filed several petitions at the election petition tribunal against INEC’s declaration of Obaseki as winner of the Edo State governorship election that was conducted in September last year.
The aggrieved political parties are Action Democratic Party (ADP), Action Peoples Party (APP), Action Alliance (AA), Allied Peoples Movement (APM), and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).